Visible / Invisible exhibit highlights community perspectives on violence


Jack Austin/Daily Senior Staffer

A mural in the Visible/Invisible exhibit proclaims “Love is the Answer.” The exhibit focuses on underlying forms of violence as seen through the works of Evanston and Chicago artists.

Lily Carey, Reporter

More than 150 people flocked to Noyes Cultural Art Center last Friday for the opening of Visible / Invisible, a new exhibit featuring the work of local artists that explores different forms of violence.

The exhibit, which lasts through March 18, features more than 40 different Evanston and Chicago-based artists and a range of two-and-three-dimensional works. Curators Lisa Degliantoni, Indira Johnson and Fran Joy said they worked alongside these artists for over a year and a half to capture what violence means to the local community.

“It’s a beautiful exhibit, because while the goal was to show a simple thing of invisible violence, each piece brings up something different,” Johnson said.

Artists, families and Evanston and Chicago residents of all ages attended the exhibit’s launch. 

An art exhibit with a multicolored map of the United States on a Black background.
The Visible/Invisible exhibit at the Noyes Cultural Art Center lasts through March 18 and features more than 40 different Evanston and Chicago-based artists (Jack Austin/Daily Senior Staffer)

Chicago-based artist Sholo Beverly, whose piece “Blacktastic” is featured in the exhibit, said she was surprised and impressed by the wide range of mediums and messages represented.

“My piece just shows the silence of what’s happening with our Black culture, with Black men especially,” Sholo said. “If you see the image, there are a lot of sharp fingers, which shows how we’re hiding behind our hands.”

Other pieces touched on themes such as gun violence, body image, immigration and mental health.

Johnson said the idea to highlight both overt and underlying forms of violence in the exhibit came from Evanston residents. The curators hosted several community conversations in early 2020 and formed an advisory council of community members who discussed the impact these themes have had on their own lives.

Lynda Crawford, an Evanston resident who attended Friday’s event, said she was touched by the exhibit. 

“When there’s so much passion and anger and fear behind the theme, it’s just very moving,” she said. 

Degliantoni said the curators made an effort to open the exhibit to younger community members as well. Claudia Marter, a junior at Evanston Township High School, has a piece called “Property” in Visible / Invisible. 

Marter told Friday’s audience that her artwork focuses on themes of female objectification, and how showing off one’s body can lead to both oppression and liberation.

“(The piece) symbolizes how men reconstruct some women to be someone they weren’t before,” Marter said. “Or it can be her reconstructing herself after that kind of violence into who she once was.”

The curators plan to host a family art workshop and a community conversation in the gallery to explore the exhibit’s themes in March. 

Johnson said she hopes the exhibit will raise awareness about different forms of violence.

“A lot of the violence the artists have talked about, we’re not really aware of it,” Johnson said. “Now we can learn from them, and hopefully make some actions that change that.”

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Twitter: @lilylcarey

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